My name is Rosie Krause, I am a Masters of Arts Candidate in Legal Studies at Carleton University. My undergraduate degree was also from Carleton, an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Child Studies with a Minor in Psychology. In my third year of my undergraduate degree, I decided I wanted to go to graduate school and was told point blank by a student success worker that I couldn’t do it with my current grades and involvement. So I set out to prove this person wrong – and I did. I reached out and got support from student services, got to know my professors, and started getting involved with non-profit organizations in youth oriented areas.
In two years I had gathered approximately 4000 hours of relevant work experience in the field; volunteering was 95% of this experience. The rest of the experience hours were paid, as I managed to secure a position at the organization I volunteered for. I worked at this organization for 3 and a half years, only leaving when starting the thesis year of my MA. Through these experiences I have learned what I’m passionate about, and what I am skilled at. Volunteering is an opportunity to build confidence in your abilities in a tangible way that puts them into action.
Since 2015, I have been speaking on how to get involved and the importance of volunteering, mostly in Dr. John Weekes’ Addictions course at Carleton. I have mentored many students,and helped them secure volunteer positions in various organizations. While it cannot be understated that volunteering is crucial to the functioning of most non-profit organizations, it is also vital that volunteers gain useful experience for themselves in the process. I always say in my presentations that there is no shame in being straight forward with agencies about what you can give, and what you need to get from your volunteer positions. Volunteering is an opportunity for you to contribute your skills, knowledge and passion to an organization, and for you to learn and develop yourself. Having the motivation to grow and learn as a volunteer is not only acceptable, but encouraged.
Another thing I often stress is, post-secondary school is a rare opportunity to have access to experts in fields that interest you. Professors are often willing to discuss their research interests with students, and support their growth in and out of the classroom. It truly is a privilege that many people do not have access to. These connections can be key to developing a stronger sense of purpose, and building a solid network in the community.
Whenever I speak about volunteering I emphasize the value of volunteering, and the role it can play in teaching you about yourself. You learn what roles you can genuinely fulfill within the fields that interest you. Personally, through volunteering, I was able to quickly determine that I belong in a different area of children’s health care than I originally thought, and since the day I figured this out I have been in constant pursuit of opportunities to try new things and engage with passionate people.
Overall, I genuinely love to support people in their endeavors, and to encourage others to learn about themselves in relation to the world around them. Volunteering has provided me with endless opportunities for growth, and I am truly appreciative to be sharing my experiences with others.